Monthly Archives: February 2009

Leon Sinks Geological Area, near Tallahasee, Florida

Howdee all.
Today we went to a very cool geological area… An area of karsts
I took this information from the Leon Sinks website..
You can click on the link above to read more about the area and look at the trail map.

Leon Sinks Geological Area
Welcome to the fascinating world of karst. The term is applied to terrain that rain and groundwater have changed by dissolving underlying limestone bedrock. The porous limestone bedrock was formed long ago from ancient coral reefs and shell deposits. Rain and groundwater have dissolved the limestone to form sinkholes, swales and underground caverns. The Woodville Karst Plain runs from Tallahassee southward to the Gulf of Mexico. A wet sinkhole is an opening to the Floridan aquifer, which supplies our drinking water.
Many of these sinks are connected caves underwater….they have been explored by divers. If you are interested you can check out the video at Utube by clicking this link.

Jeff and I decided to do the full round trip, about five miles plus. We passed several dry sink holes.. and then came across this one..

Beautiful blue green water, very clear.

We hung out and watched a few birds come in to drink.
another sink ..
We passed many sinks..and this one below being the largest and deepest.
Big Dismal Sink offers a breathtaking view of more than 75 different plants cascading down the sink’s steep walls.


besides the sinks we passes several small cypress swamps.


Oh whats this I see ..
Pink on a tree

Pink spots
and one PINK Heart…



How Cool is that!

I googled pink Lichen but couldn’t find any info on it…any ideas?
(oh…smart sister found out what this is…)
Christmas Lichen
and this other link actually has photos of the lichen from the same area that we hiked today
More Christmas Lichen
Thanks smart sista…

and what the heck?????? How does this tree stay up?


with a little help from its friend…
its leaning into that spot up top…..

We saw some nice birdies today…alas no pictures…if i were one of you with those super cool cameras with real fast shutter speeds and zoom lenses you would have seen photos of…

White eyed vireo, Golden crowned kinglets, Hermit thrush, Yellow bellied sapsucker,
Red bellied woodpecker, Chickadees, Titmouse, Cardinals, Ruby crowned kinglet, Robins and Pine warbler and Orange crowned warbler.
But I dont have one of those cameras…so you will just have to take my word for it…tee hee…

Our new Backyard…St Marks National Wildlife Refugee, Florida

Howdee all,
We left St.George yesterday and drove 2 hours east to our new backyard.
We are staying in a small County Campground in Newport, Florida just a few minutes drive to
St. Marks National Wildlife Refugee and a half hour south of Tallahassee.

The Campground is partly wooded, we have full hookups..which means, unlike the state parks, I can take longer showers and do laundry…..Yipee…i wont stink and my clothes will be clean!
We can walk to a small river to view Manatees(haven’t done that yet)

If you look on the map below you can see the refugee south of us..follow Lighthouse road..rt. 59.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=30.200445,-84.167912&spn=0.008494,0.019312&t=h&msid=112253577048296733977.000463b4ac8b140ed5643&output=embed&s=AARTsJrzDJ09cvPLy5V2fKhvGnNBI70WCA
View Larger Map

Today we drove to the Refugee to see what it was all about. We stopped at the visitor center, where we saw great close up views of Red-Shouldered Hawks on the Balcony railing.

below ..view of Visitor Center from trail
The Refugee is very large…and spreads throughout several towns.
Today we saw just a portion…
We checked out a few of the many ponds.


We had a fun day birding…
Lots of birdies here.
Canvasbacks and Redhead ducks were some of our highlights.

check out this beautiful Redhead Duck in the video…..

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

Black Necked Stilt
Great Egret

look at this Pied billed Grebe ..It kept spreading its wings like below..
does anyone know why it did this? Is it trying to attract a mate?


not such a great photo..but I loved how the green on this Green winged Teal…
just glowed.

We drove Lighthouse road…
to the end.

more ponds and birdies..gulls, terns, shorebirds, ducks, snipes, soras
etc.
We are very excited …this is a beautiful refugee and birding is great. We look forward to the next week here…and who knows…we may extend our stay another week.

Goodnight from us here at St. Marks Wildlife Refugee

Top Three reasons we Hiked another 10 Miles on the beach

Howdee all.

Yes we did another ten mile hike…repeated the same 5 mile bay side and 5 mile gulf side hike.
The morning started off cold but warmed out…
check out my morning gear..


Ok here are the

TOP THREE REASONS WE DID ANOTHER 10 MILE BEACH WALK.

Reason number 3. to Collect Treasures



Reason number 2. to see more birdies

and birdie footprints

below is a video of what we believe to be a Long-Tailed Duck, a Life Bird for us
Would anyone like to confirm that for us?

but the number 1 reason we walked another 10 miles

OYSTERS, FIVE DIFFERENT WAYS

While In Apalachicola..You must try the local oysters…
so we did ..
We went to the famous
Boss Oyster

Oyster A la Artie (Chef Tim Strand, Boss Oyster):Hand-picked Blue Crab, Artichoke, Monterey Jack Cheese
Oyster Monterey (Captain Greg R. Pace):Hand-picked Blue Crab, Sherry, Monterey Jack Cheese
Oyster Bienville (Mr. Webb, Apalachicola):Chopped Shrimp, Mushrooms, Garlic, Cheddar Cheese
Oyster Greektown (Diana Poppelreater, Atlanta):Garlic, Parsley, Feta Cheese, Greek Olives

Fried was my favorite.

the above post uploaded thanks to free wifi at the local Subway Shop.

Beach Finds…What do You want Family?

Howdee all,


Here are some of the Beach Finds..
Let me know what you might be interested in…because I don’t want to lug these all around if you don’t want them.
It was good exercise anyway…I think yesterday I carried two five pound bags for at least five miles.


The sponges..i wash most of the sand off of them… a few are cool for stand alone displays…
I don’t know if they should be soaked in Vinegar or not.


This Clorox bottle I found in the water yesterday…Jeff looked online and someone was selling one for seven dollars.Assorted broken shells…cool..but I never could find a complete shell

In town I saw these type of skeleton shells in a tall clear glass cylinder jar..
it really looked cool

I thought these below would look nice in a big bowl

these are a few big stand alone shells
Ok that is just a sampling….
So sisters, mother, nieces, sister-in laws…
you know who you are…
let me know …

Our new backyard, St. George Island State Park, Florida

Howdee all,

We have a new Backyard. We moved east on the coast of the Florida Panhandle to St. George Island State Park…

see the map below…
that’s where we are…if you go to street level you can see our campsite.

It is pretty remote here…So my Internet connection is sooooooooo frustrating. It takes me hours to do a post…so we take a drive to hook up to some free Wifi. When i read blogs online I sometimes see pictures and sometimes not.
I can sometimes get a comment box to pop up the first time…usually it takes two or three attempts. It is annoying the heck out of me…..
OH well………….

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=29.687456,-84.91127&spn=0.273204,0.617981&t=h&msid=112253577048296733977.000463369c96193d25ca2&output=embed&s=AARTsJqMxgyNYWN19rOvc0kb9YdTxVxNJg
View Larger Map

The RV park is very nice, wooded, large sites, campfire rings, picnic table and clothesline.
We have resident, Towhees, Cardinals, Catbirds, Yellow rumped warblers, Morning doves and Common Ground Doves
We set out some seed on the ground and I put out peanut butter suet…
which was robbed overnight by Raccoons most likely. No sign of the wire suet holder…

The little fur ball… Ballie loves sitting outside and watching the birds.

We had a nice ten mile hike yesterday to the east end of the island..

hiked five miles east on the bay side.

and then hiked back five miles west on the ocean side.
Thats me with my Yellow bag of beach treasures and my sore toes.


One thing we did notice…is that this area is not as birdie as our last favorite place!
Presenells rv park and marina in Port St. Joe’s. We will definitely put that on our list of Favorite places to go back to.

There are birds here…just not as many …and not as many species.

we saw…American Oyster catchers, Laughing Gulls, Ring billed Gulls, Bonaparte Gulls

Sanderlings, Dunlins, Black bellied Plover, Semi-Palmated Plover, Piping Plover , Snowy Plovers and Red Knots and Willets , Lesser Yellowlegs, and Ruddie Turnstones.
I guess there were a good amount of birdies…now that I am writing about them.

My feet were getting sore by the end of the hike….and today my toes were sore…
So we just did a five mile hike…to the bay side thru the woods…and took the rest of the day to drive around the island, uploaded some pictures using Wifi at Subways….Jeff worked on Taxes and I made a nice dinner.

Heres my little fur boy …wherever we go the first thing he likes to do is jump on top of the picnic table..
Below he is guarding my beach treasures. Some sponge structures…and shells.


some strange root structures?


we don’t have sunset out our front window…now we drive about a mile to this area
if we want to see the sunset.
Which is still nice…but we were spoiled at our last homesite where we could look out the window and the view was amazing.

Such is our life…the view is always changing.
and if we dont like it…
well..
we go find another one.

Great Backyard Bird Count from our current backyard Port Saint Joe

Howdee all,

Jeff and I decided to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count. This was a first for us…we figured we would be out birding anyway… why not help…..and count the birds.
It was fun…but we worked hard..going from place to place to try to record as many birds as we could, and went to different areas to get a diverse group of birds.


We could look right out of our window and see Brown and White Pelicans, Great Blue Herons, Great Egrets, Tri Colored herons, Snowy Egrets, Laughing and Ring Billed Gulls, White Ibis, Willets, Killdeer.


We drove to a wooded area to get the some wrens and a few warblers.
And counting Robins that are flitting around in trees overhead….that was fun.

Great Horned Owl in nest.

But mostly stuck to the salt water marshes, where we saw Bald Eagle and Black Bellied Plover and masses of other shorebirds of which we had to ID and the count.


Have you ever tried to count a huge flock of anything? Well I guess some of you would say yes..
We havent…..so it was fun trying to count this huge flock of Black Skimmers….


Black skimmers flying over Jeff

I did stop and look at the ground a few times…many shells.

lots of Red-breasted mergansers


We scoped out a few islands that had White and Brown Pelicans and all the other assorted gulls, herons and egrets that we see on our little island accross from the campground..
We took turns going through all the birds and counting..we found it easier to scan through the group and just count one speices and then scan the same group for the next species.
Do any of you have special techniques that you use for scanning huge flocks?
We did our best…and if anything under estimted flock size.

But now…….. I am wondering if we this count correctly…everything was counted in Port Saint Joe…but……
in different areas of town….Soooooooo…as I go back and read the directions….It looks like you need a different count for each area. Oh My!
So now what do I do? All these places were within 8 miles total…But we did drive to four different areas…
Darn it…I guess being my first time and not doing a great job reading the how too…I didnt get this totally right…

We did have a lovely, overcast day of birding.

we will be……..Moving again..

Today we are moving to St. George Island, If we get there early enough we might participate again!

Locality: Port Saint Joe, Gulf County, FL
Observation Date: FEB 15, 2009
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Total Birding Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Party Size: 2
Skill: good
Weather: fair
Habitat(s):
coniferous woods
scrub
salt water
Number of Species: 71
All Reported: yes

Lesser Scaup – 3
Bufflehead – 28
Common Goldeneye – 3
Red-breasted Merganser – 65
Common Loon – 5
Pied-billed Grebe – 2
Horned Grebe – 2
American White Pelican – 75
Brown Pelican – 42
Double-crested Cormorant – 60
Great Blue Heron – 16
Great Egret – 17
Snowy Egret – 11
Little Blue Heron – 2
Tricolored Heron – 4
White Ibis – 64
Turkey Vulture – 8
Bald Eagle – 3
Red-tailed Hawk – 1
American Kestrel – 1
Black-bellied Plover – 15
Semipalmated Plover – 3
Killdeer – 4
American Oystercatcher – 4
Willet – 24
Ruddy Turnstone – 16
Red Knot – 8
Sanderling – 32
Dunlin – 75
Short-billed Dowitcher – 3
Bonaparte’s Gull – 5
Laughing Gull – 56
Ring-billed Gull – 45
Herring Gull – 4
Forster’s Tern – 38
Royal Tern – 7
Black Skimmer – 224
Eurasian Collared-Dove – 8
White-winged Dove – 10
Mourning Dove – 7
Common Ground-Dove – 8
Great Horned Owl – 1
Belted Kingfisher – 4
Red-bellied Woodpecker – 6
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – 1
Downy Woodpecker – 2
Eastern Phoebe – 4
Loggerhead Shrike – 3
American Crow – 2
Fish Crow – 3
Carolina Chickadee – 6
Brown-headed Nuthatch – 12
Carolina Wren – 4
Winter Wren – 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – 6
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – 2
Eastern Bluebird – 24
American Robin – 76
Gray Catbird – 5
Northern Mockingbird – 24
European Starling – 44
Pine Warbler – 8
Prairie Warbler – 1
Yellow-breasted Chat – 1 Confirmed
Eastern Towhee – 9
Chipping Sparrow – 45
Swamp Sparrow – 1
Northern Cardinal – 7
Red-winged Blackbird – 34
Boat-tailed Grackle – 37
Brown-headed Cowbird – 35

Goodbye Grayton Beach State Park ..Hello Presnells Marina and RV park

Howdee all,

We tried to get a longer stay at Grayton Beach State Park…but they were full on this Valentines weekend.
Actually many of the State parks here fill up this time of year, and unless you make reservations in advance.
So we scrambled to find someplace to stay Thursday until Monday.
Jeff found this RV park and Marina on the road to St. Port St. Joes.
Wow did we get lucky.
and ………………………..there are Birds!
One thing we noticed is that there were not that many birds west of Panama City this time of year. So now as we travel east we are seeing more birds.

See the little island in the distance between the trees…

White Pelicans stay here in the winter..along with some Brown Pelicans, Egrets and we saw a flock of Ibis eating in the mud flats.
Birdies , Birdies everywhere.

The park is not fancy…just sites with electric and water.
Wifi at the office.

The Views are amazing…this is the view looking right which is north.

This is the view to the left which is to the south.
A nice dock…with lots of birdies! Mostly Brown Pelicans, laughing gulls and a few Herons.
Willets move through and feed in the flats.

We face West. The view out of our front window.


the view over the sofa.

Ballie is sleeping here…but spent most of the afternoon outside.

So we are enjoying our new temporary yard. Four nights….hummm maybe we should stay longer.

Align Center

The sunset was very nice tonight.

Tomorrow we will check out the State Park and do some birding…if the weather holds out.
Rain is expected..
Well….we can always stay home and look out the windows.
Tee hee

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&t=h&s=AARTsJrMafZKVpNI41KJ1PbGmt0EIx4P0g&msa=0&msid=112253577048296733977.000462cc3a8f8c17913aa&ll=29.822774,-85.207214&spn=0.416997,0.583649&z=10&output=embed
View Larger Map

Port St. Joe, Florida…… Skywatch Friday

Howdee all,
We are now camped here in Port St. Joe at an RV park and Marina.
The campground is slow this time of year. Which is nice for us.

It is Quiet …The clouds were glowing this afternoon

Align Center

and then the sunset….changed the tone



Laughing Gull eating at sunset….

Hope you have a Wonderful Skywatch Friday..
Go now and see other Sky’s from around the world.

Grayton Beach State Park…our new Home

Howdee all,

We moved our Homey about 25 miles east to Grayton Beach State Park.
We had another week reserved at Henderson Beach State Park in Destin…but decided, after seeing this Park to switch. The Park is a bit more secluded…..Nice Lake, which we happened to be camped on…and hopefully a few more birdies.

See…that little square beyond the lake…that’s our Homey.

We can walk to the beach from this Campground
This is a look East


and the view looking west


So we took an evening beach walk…The sun was setting…
not many people on the beach…



I think this is a mushroom cap jelly fish
Check out this link for information on jelly fish



and this little gem…is the bead i found on the windblown sand yesterday.
I say it is a native American bead made of shell.
What do you think?

Walking on Appalachian quartz …Florida Panhandle

Wow what a difference a week makes…Its my kind of weather now…I don’t know about you all…but perfect weather for me is mid sixties to low seventies…Sunny of course.

So being a bit warmer we took a few Dune-beach walks.

Mushrooms in Florida…Yipee….didnt eat these!
Aren’t they just Divine.

through the woods…some water

A freshwater lake..


Past the water…Dunes
white sand…


Why is the Sand White along the Beaches in Destin Florida?

The sand here on the Emerald Coast is among the whitest, cleanest and softest in the world. What you might not know, is that when you walk on the beaches here, you are actually walking on the mountains – the Appalachian Mountains, that is.

The sand on the Emerald Coast beaches is comprised mainly of quartz washed down from the mountains by the Apalachicola River, 130 miles east of Ft. Walton Beach. It is this quartz, ground to a perfect oval in each grain of sand, that makes the beach “squeak” when you walk on it.

Normally, such quartz has a rosy pink tint because of it’s iron oxide coating, but the sugary-white quartz of the Emerald Coast lost it’s coating somewhere along it’s watery journey thousands of years ago. No one knows exactly how or why.

So there ya go…I am hiking on the Appalachian Mountains…tee hee..


oh…look over the dunes…lets go there!


So Far in this part of the panhandle I am not finding shells, at least whole ones…
Just bits and pieces…
I did find an old Indian Bead…ha…that is my story and I am sticking to it…
I will take a photo of the bead…and post it later.

Oh ….Whats this hiding in the sand?


A sweet little Snowy Plover

and
This Great Blue Heron was not so shy

Well…
That’s all for now….Tomorrow we move Homey to Grayton Beach State Park.

Goodbye for now from my Hiking Boots..


See ya….